26 March 2010


Let the catching up begin. Bring on March! Contrary to what you may think given the pleasantness of the warming up of the world, I really do not like March. I find it absurd that a 31 day month does not include a single holiday. And by the time March rolls around, I have no patience for its flip-floppy weather. Just be warm! What is so hard about that?? Okay, enough ranting. Now we can bring on March.

My first weekly make of March was quite a mystery for some time...even to me. I had been rummaging through my fabric scrap drawer and had come across some lovely strips of flannel. I decided that I would make some sort of bag using a single continuous strip of cloth. I was inspired by a bag I had seen once that was made entirely out of a continuous zipper. Here is a pretty good example. If you need a little better of an explanation, here is a scary infomercial-type video that shows how it works. Yikes.

Anyway, that was my starting point. I decided to use two different fabrics to emphasize the sweet diagonalness of the pattern. And I just started sewing the long strip to itself winding around and around as I went. (I really need to start taking in-process shots because I'm sure this makes no sense.) When the strip ran out, I stopped sewing and evaluated what I had...which was a bag with 3 corners on the bottom. I spent the next 2 hours--Yes...2 hours--trying to figure out how to tuck in the bottom single-cornered side so that I would have a nice rectangular, flat bottom with a front and back and sides that were squared off. I folded and pinned and unpinned and refolded. I cut out a cardboard bottom to see if pinning around a solid piece would be easier. It wasn't. In short, this bag--or whatever it was--totally owned me.

So I took a rotary cutter to it. (That's the sewing equivalent to a pizza wheel.) I cut off the double cornered half and sewed up the side. I now had a flat bag. Much smaller than my original intention and not nearly as cool. But it turns out that when you sew a strip of fabric diagonally and 3-dimensionally, it just doesn't come out squared. End of story. Defeat accepted.

Because of the seams from the strips, I had a large amount of flannel folding all over the place inside my bag. So I decided it needed to be lined. I pulled a random bit of fabric from my scrap drawer (now a large pile on my floor) and cut it to what I thought would be the right size. But flannel, though soft and lovely, is thick and obnoxious, so measuring the outside of the bag produced a lining that was too big. I measured again and resewed. Still too big. So then I got really angry, took the rotary cutter to my lining and whacked off about a half an inch. Maybe it was a full inch. I don't know. I was distraught.

Of course, my lining was now too small, but I was determined to make it work. I thought, "Hey! Maybe if I add straps to the sides, it will make up for the gap-osis between my lining and the outside of my bag!" Brilliant, Robin! And you already have a matching strip of fabric cut into the perfect width! I sewed it up and tried to turn it right-side out. But again, we were working with flannel. And there was no way that little strip of fabric was ever going to turn right-side out. So what to do? I didn't want to waste any more fabric on this stupid bag. But what else could close the gap between my lining and my outer shell? Why, a zipper of course! Because I'd never sewn a zipper into anything before, and what better time to try than for a project that was a complete disaster? Really, how hard could it be? I even had a zipper that was kinda sorta almost the right size! Woohoo!

Well, I'm guessing that the right time to sew in a zipper is not when the bag is otherwise fully assembled, and especially not when your liner and your outer shell don't match up. So it was a...trying experience. But I ended up with...

a zipper pouch...that is only somewhat functional...and will most certainly fall apart if you don't hold it just so when operating the zipper.

So, was my little diagonal bag project as nifty as a continuous zipper bag? Not even close. But I did try a few new things including some very poor geometry. And if you don't look at it too closely, it is kinda pretty. And the original intention of the diagonality remained intact. So there are small victories in the midst of disaster.

As a side note, in searching for bags made of zippers, I found this little number, which just might have to be an upcoming project. Maybe once March is over. I think I'll have better luck and a better state of mind come April.


  1. I found a project in the wee hours of this morning that I thought you might like. Check it out!


    It's drool-worthy!

  2. I LOVE that quilt!! I am definitely going to have to try it. That looks like a much nicer use of scraps. She is now on my blogs-to-read list. Did you see the other sew mama sew scrap buster month entries? I really like this pillow:

  3. Seriously, I love your creativity and willingness to try all kinds of new projects. Very inspiring!